Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Breakdown of a Heroine - October Daye

Series always present a weird quandary as a reviewer. Because I want to tell you about the series, really I want to RAVE about this series, but somehow I have to avoid spoiling it at the same time. When I finished One Salt Sea I needed to talk about. I could do an infomercial about how much I love these books. "Feeling frustrating with weak pansy paranormal characters? Tired of fickle fae? Do I have the product for you! October Daye! Strong, stubborn, followed by the warm aroma of coffee and copper. Buy yours today! Call now & we'll throw in a complimentary kitten." (Imagine that in my best infomercial voice)

So to avoid spoilers, I'm going to do a "Breakdown of Heroine" series style. Because if you're feeling the woes of weak female characters October Daye is someone you need to meet!

Who is October Daye?
She's a changeling, half-fae, Amandine's daughter, somewhat accidental knight and personally committed to keeping the coffee industry in business. She spent years trapped as a fish so now she has an aversion to water. Her mother has gone galavanting off into the world of faerie insanity so she's stranded with weak magical abilities and not much training. Toby has a tendency to find herself in sticky situations. Luckily she's too stubborn to die. Faerie seems to either love her or hate her. She annoys them by being smarter, more clever and solving problems that her "betters" fail to handle on their own. She's pretty much a faerie queens worst nightmare. That's part of why I love her so much.

Strength of Character
Toby's one of the strongest characters I've ever met. She's also one of the most stubborn. She doesn't avoid danger, but has a tendency to follow it around poking it with a stick. Somehow she's become the dependable hero despite the fact that she's mortal surrounded by immortals. She can't mind her own business and finds herself defending the innocent and saving faerie and mankind on a regular basis.

Toby's Storyline
Since there are 5 fantabulous books it's hard to give you a storyline. But Toby's part detective, part the unluckiest changeling in the universe. She always finds herself at the center of whatever drama's going on in the San Fran faerie world. If it could happen, it happens to Toby. The fae world has a twisted sense of humor where she's concerned.

Romantic Entanglements
Yes please. I'll take one of those with Tybalt.
But about the book, the relationships never intrude into the story in an unrealistic way. Considering how sexy the men are that's an accomplishment! Toby rarely takes the time to stop and be romantic, despite some good-looking and often willing fae partners. It's hard to focus on relationships when it feels like someone is always trying to kill you. Toby seems to be a hero first then a woman second. That kinda sucks for her, but it's better than being someone who just gives up and chases boys while the world falls apart.

Despite being fae and a knight, Toby is relatable. She's the type of hero that struggles as much as she succeeds. You ache for the choices and the sacrifices she has to make. It's not all guts and glory. Sometimes it's heartbreak, regret and not enough money to pay the bills.

This is also a RARE series where the books get better and better. Admittedly the first is the weakest (and PLEASE if you like it at all continue. I beg of you. You will not regret it!). Sometimes by the time I've reached book 5 I'm ready for a series to end. I don't like it when stories get stretched like Gumby to last longer and longer. This story isn't dragging its feet. Every book is satisfying. This is one of those books that I really want to succeed. For purely selfish reason of course, I still want more.

Toby Daye I really hope faerie isn't done screwing with you. I love you, but I'm not ready to let you go yet.

3 comments: said...

I honestly cannot agree with you more.

I'm a guy that has been looking for a good urban fantasy/fae series to read that isn't littered with tons of meaningless sex. This is definitely that series.

The amount of growth Toby goes through in these books is extremely noticeable. I can't thank Seanan McGuire for this series enough!

veela-valoom said...

I'm glad you like it! Toby's unique in fiction and I hope people writing books read this series and really understand why it works because I've not met an urban fantasy that I like more.

I hate when books have tons of meaningless sex when they should be focusing on other things. It's like "seriously do these characters have priorities?"

But Toby's not like that at all!

Amber Clark said...

Personally, I felt that the second book was the weakest but otherwise, I agree wholeheartedly with this review.